Re: Word, Frame, xml authoring and work flow. Opinions? (long)

Subject: Re: Word, Frame, xml authoring and work flow. Opinions? (long)
From: "David O'Brien" <OBrien_David_P -at- cat -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2003 09:12:47 +1000

El Viernes 28 Noviembre 2003 02:45, eric -dot- dunn -at- ca -dot- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com
> "David O'Brien" <OBrien_David_P -at- cat -dot- com> wrote on 11/26/2003 07:18:35 PM:
> > El Miércoles 26 Noviembre 2003 22:53, escribió:
> > > I'd stick with an out-of-the-box solution (like
> > > Docbook) that everyone can
> > > read about and refer to.
> >
> > This has also been recommended elsewhere. I'm looking into it now.
> Seems so straight forward doesn't it. Go with the standard. Watch out
> though, it sometimes costs a lot in time and development to work with a
> standard like docbook. You have to learn what applies to you, what doesn't,
> and how to add/workaround requirements the standard doesn't address. Lynne
> Price on the Framers list can tell you how many clients she's helped
> rationalise Docbook implementations.

I'll keep that, and Lynne's name, in mind, thanks. I did wonder about the
extent of docbook, and if we could use a pruned version.

> Personally, I guess it's often easier to first analyse your current
> situation and implement something that works without changing the current
> environment. Then, you can analyse how to make your current output
> transform/ conform to the standards requirements. You can then determine if
> you will then move your process to work to the standard from the get-go or
> if the standard is just one of you final outputs.
I think this is one of the problems we face. Due to reorganisation our
"current situation" is basically in a state of flux. We're moving from a
traditional "group of writers sourcing information from engineers and SMEs"
model to one in which I'm essentially the sole tech writer who functions as
an editor and content manager for the content that is now to be produced by
those engineers and SMEs themselves.

> > that would put too much
> > formatting and layout on
> > authors desktops (I'm unfamiliar with structured
> > Framemaker so this may make
> > little sense...)
> You're right. It makes no sense at all. If you're using structured
> templates, there's very little a writer can do to influence formatting that
> can't just be set back to template settings before final output.
Good, that's what we want.

> > and would require many people to learn
> > Frame and the purchase of many licenses.
> > Our parent company already owns Epic, so COO is
> > zero.
> Oh no it isn't. Epic licensing and maintenance costs are per user are they
> not? Also, unlike Frame you MUST pay a yearly maintenance fee for the
> licence to remain valid. FrameMaker might be MUCH cheaper and even more so
> if you also purchase numerous Acrobat licences.

Ok. I didn't realize there was a yearly maintenance cost, however, being part
of a larger group that already owns it, they (I expect) would wear that.
That's something I'd have to verify. We're also investigating Contributor,
the browser-based front end, which is a lower cost alternative, and limit the
number of Epic licences. With Frame, we'd be responsible for the lot. Acrobat
is not an issue as we already have sufficient licenses for that.
> Learning Frame as a writer is a breeze. Structured Frame with a good
> template even easier. If the writers are familiar with Epic, they shouldn't
> have any difficulty. Even if they are completely unfamiliar with any
> structured environment, if it's set up properly they can be productive in a
> half day tops.
I wonder... A couple of people here would pick it up ok, but there are others
who can't get their heads around using styles in Word and keep applying
boldface, underlines, font sizes, etc., to get what they want. This is my
first look at structured Frame so maybe that will give me a better view. Are
you saying here that, costs aside, Frame and Epic are on a par as far as ease
of use is concerned (when working in a structured environment in Frame)? Most
of the engineers here write xml on a daily basis; if they can write doco in
the same way they'll probably be more inclined to contribute.

> Does anyone on the list have experience with Altova Authentic? It's a free
> XML authoring application and comes either as a desktop application or a
> browser plugin.
Is this something you're familiar with?
Thanks for all the i nput.

> Eric L. Dunn
> Senior Technical Writer

David O'Brien
Sr. Technical Writer
Caterpillar MineStar Solutions

617 3329 8122
davido -at- cat -dot- com
Every other person knows the other person.



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Re: Word, Frame, xml authoring and work flow. Opinions? (long): From: eric . dunn

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